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Post Completion OPT and STEM OPT

Optional Practical Training (“OPT”)

As an F-1 Student, you may apply for up to 12 months of Optional Practical Training authorization so that you can gain practical experience related to your major field of study.

OPT is a benefit granted by USCIS, not in-house by the Immigration Services Office. Applications cost $410.00 and can take up to 90-120 days to process.

You cannot begin work until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (informally known as the “OPT Card”). Working before you receive your EAD is considered a violation of F-1 Status that results in a negative termination of your SEVIS Record


Once you receive your EAD card, please complete the online EAD Report.  
In addition to this, to report your employment information, please complete an online OPT Employment Update submission. Please do not submit an OPT Employment Update until you have accepted a position. You are required to report your OPT participation as part of maintaining your F-1 status.

6-Month Reporting 
Important Reminder: F-1 students are required to do 6 month reporting via the OPT Employment Update even if the information has not changed while on OPT for the following: 
  • Legal name.
  • Residential or mailing address 
  • Employer name and address.
  • Status of current employment.
In addition to this, If the F-1 student does have changes outside before or after the 6 months, they are also required to update their address and employment within10 days of the change via OPT Employment Update 

STEM OPT Extension 

As an F-1 Student, you may eligible to apply for a 24-Month STEM OPT Extension if you are currently maintaining valid F-1 Status in a period of Post-Completion OPT and you have earned a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate in a major field whose Classification of Instructional Program code (“CIP code”) appears on the DHS’ STEM Designated Degree Program List (Effective May 10, 2016). You can refer to the “Program Information” section of your I-20 for your Major and corresponding CIP Code.

Reporting your STEM OPT
While you continue working on OPT, after you submit your STEM OPT application, after it is approved, you are still required to update the IISS office with your new EAD card showing your dates of authorization via the EAD Report. You are also required to provide employment updates via the STEM Validation Report For the STEM Validation report. While you are on STEM OPT, as part of maintaining your F-1 status, you are required to update the form I-983 with any material changes to the Form I-983 and provide an updated:
  • 12-month/annual self-evaluation
  • New employer update,
  • Final employer update
Depending on how many positions an F-1 has for the 24 months of STEM OPT, or periods of unemployment will determine how many updates and frequency of reporting with the Form I-983.

Important Reminder: While on STEM OPT, the employer is required to report the F-1 leaving the position within 5 days of departure, and the F-1 student is still required to update their address with the STEM OPT updates and form I-983 (if employment changes or material changes) within 10 days of the change. 

6-Month Reporting & STEM OPT
F-1s on STEM OPT are also required to do 6-month reporting via the STEM Employment Update even if the information has not changed while on OPT for the following: 
Legal name.
Residential or mailing address 
Employer name and address.
Status of current employment.
If the employment is changing the F-1 again must submit a new Form I-983 with the final evaluation from the first employer, and a new Form I-983 for the new employer. Questions, please contact